“She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
~Mark 14:8-9 (NIV).
Legalism is always caught out at the test such as this above. It holds out impatiently to adjudge—requiring its spoil of blameworthy subjects—the precious ‘scapegoat’—with which to lavish their darkened spiritual aggression.
That precious scapegoat, as far as the legalist is concerned, is dead meat.
The confounded reality open to the world right here is this picture’s hung upside down. The legalism—prior to its revealing—seemed so straight and perfectly justified. It is now the Spirit of the Almighty God that turns the tables, much as he did that day when the legalists turned the house of God into a den of robbers (Mark 11:17).
Truth prevails for Jesus as he rebukes the rebukers. Mary’s beautiful nature was indelibly right. She had shown earlier, this time in Luke 10:38-42, that spending precious time in the Presence of the Lord was better.
It is better by far to spend time with God, devoted to him in worship, than go after the works righteousness (to the temporal exclusion of God) that many do.
When we tip the oil of praise and the perfume of thanksgiving all over the indwelt Presence of God we find something that Mary found. This risk against the disparaging Pharisees (a.k.a. legalists) of our time is bound to require courage as we respond in faith to the pressing Spirit.
The risk of upsetting these is a good risk to take because it always pleases God when we step out of the circle of our constrained humanity of spiritual groupthink and step up to heaven with him.
Mary found what was right despite the rejection of her peers and lambasting contemporaries.
Her inner spirit calling her in a subsumed way, the holy love of congruence, necessitated an instinctive response absolutely free of fear, but so totally founded in the spirit of worship.
She worshipped Jesus with an uncommon love; sadly many of us, much of the time, fall short of this love that inspires and thoroughly pleases God. We’d prefer the legalist angle. Look for cause, motive and intent—then judge!
But, it truly needn’t be like this.
Let us instead, resist the temptation to knock (anyone) and just simply gaze at this Jesus of the gospels—pouring our praises and thankfulness’s out to him who died a charlatan’s death for us, so that we might live, by him.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.